During a recent orientation for new freshman Congress members, Republican Andy Harris – a Maryland anesthesiologist elected on an anti-Obamacare platform – was shocked to learn that he would have a month-long waiting period for his government-subsidized health benefits.
According to a staffer present at the orientation, Harris asked what he was supposed to do for himself and his five children without health care for 28 days, and requested an option for a temporary plan he could purchase from the government to cover the gap. (A plan which would be eerily similar to the public option Harris said was the gateway to socialized medicine during his campaign, the staffer observed to Politico.) Harris also claimed that the government is the only employer he’d ever worked for where he didn’t receive his benefits immediately upon starting his new position.
But as anyone who’s ever worked in the real world knows, employer waiting periods are pretty typical – they’re usually anywhere between one and three months long, and are put in place to prevent new employees from filing a large claim and immediately leaving the company. Perhaps Harris doesn’t think anyone would ever bother leaving a congressional post – or perhaps he truly has always been lucky enough to work for companies who have handed him his benefits right away.
Fortunately for Harris, even without a “public option” for his in-between period, he will be able to purchase COBRA coverage for the 28 days without coverage – though he will have to pay the entire portion of his own premiums, plus a 2 percent administration fee. Or he could just wing it, and attempt to live for 28 days the way that 46.3 Americans (15.4 percent) live – without health insurance.
If you were Harris, what would you choose?